Kathleen (Glenney) Watts, always known as Kate, died on April 19, 2019 following a hard-fought battle against inflammatory breast cancer over a two-year period. Kate was born in Aurora, Illinois on February 12, 1974, the first of three girls in the Glenney family. Since the girls were each 18 months apart, they were automatic playmates, and adversaries at times, throughout the years. Kate graduated from Holy Angels Grade School and Rosary High School. At Rosary, Kate was busy with basketball, volleyball, and track in addition to other high school activities. She was at her best when she was the busiest. Kate decided to major in biology at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She loved the beautiful campus and the smaller college size. After graduating from Luther, Kate wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do. She learned of an accelerated BSN program at Loyola University and felt that was made for her. Years later, Kate said she wouldn’t ever recommend that someone do that because everything was so condensed, but she successfully completed the one-year program while living at home and commuting each day into Chicago. Kate had secured financing for the Loyola program through a federal Public Health program in which she would promise two years of work for each year of funding received. Kate was assigned to serve in the federal Department of Prisons as her ‘payback.’ There were a handful of federal prisons which had medical facilities and she chose the Federal Medical Facility at Carswell in Fort Worth, TX, as her first pick since she had never spent any time in Texas. Little did she know that she would spend the remainder of her life in Texas.
Kate always enjoyed telling people that she met her former husband, Jason, “in prison” since Jason worked there, too. Kate was over the moon about getting pregnant and was thrilled to give birth to their daughter, Jenna. Although Kate’s marriage ended years later, Jenna was her ‘best ever’ as she and Kate always said to each other; she was so cherished by her mom. Much of Kate’s motivation to keep going during cancer treatment was so she could be there for Jenna. Kate worked as a med-surg nurse at several locations in Fort Worth and Tyler, TX. She loved hospital nursing and, after a brief stint away in a clinic, she returned to the hospital environment. In 2014, she learned of a Clinical Nurse Leader program that Texas Health Resources had in conjunction with TCU. Although Kate had always sworn she wouldn’t go back to school, this program sounded too good to pass up. Once she had been hired as a clinical care coordinator on the oncology floor, she enrolled at TCU. Though she had never worked in the oncology field, she decided to try something new. Kate came to greatly admire the positive attitudes of the cancer patients that she took care of, saying that their gratitude and appreciation for all the small and large things in life was always amazing to her. Going to school, working full-time and being a single mom to Jenna was a challenge, but Kate worked hard at it and in December 2016, she received her MSN as a Clinical Nurse Leader. That was one of her proudest moments ever. Another accomplishment that she chalked up was completing a half marathon in the Cowtown Run. Even though Kate was busy, she tried to get in some runs around the neighborhood and several 5k’s. She loved the Cowtown and doing the half marathon was a goal she aimed for and was successful at. But a bigger struggle loomed—in May 2017, Kate was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a rare, highly aggressive form of breast cancer that is automatically at least a stage 3 cancer at diagnosis. Kate was lucky to have an excellent oncologist, Sanjay Oommen, on board for treatment almost immediately. Kate spent the summer and early fall going for chemotherapy, had a mastectomy in November and followed up with extensive radiation treatments. Through all of that, Kate continued her job working with the cancer patients she so admired. She also worked on trying to secure treatment for those people who had no insurance. In February 2018, Kate decided to go to MD Anderson in Houston to see what they might have to offer. She felt that her treatment plan up to that time had been top-notch but knew that MD Anderson often had trials for various treatments. From that time until February of this year, she participated in two trials which involved weekly trips to Houston and also tried other chemotherapy drugs. However, the relentless disease did not give up, and her cancer metastasized to the liver earlier this year. She had always told Jenna that she would be honest with her and that, if the cancer went to another place, that meant it could not be cured--hard stuff for a 10-year-old to hear, but at least Jenna knew that her mom was being honest.
Kate is survived by her daughter, Jenna, her beloved dog, Ranger, her parents Bob and Kathleen Glenney, her sister, Colleen Glenney, her sister and brother-in-law, Maggie and Brett Klokkenga, and her nephews Matthew, Zachary, and Nicholas Klokkenga. Kate was lucky to also have several aunts and uncles and many cousins, some of whom were also part of her childhood. Kate had so many incredibly nearby good friends who were with her every step of the way. Her online moms group, together since they were all pregnant and due in October, 2008, were such great cheerleaders. Her coworkers from the recent past to her early days in Fort Worth provided meals and support as Kate went through treatment. And through it all, Kate continued her close relationship with Anna Bowers, her ‘work wife.’ Kate’s family will be forever grateful for all the friendship, love and support everyone provided to not just Kate, but to her family, too. Kate was hoping to plan a 5K to spread IBC awareness, but she was never able to get to that. So, her family and friends are going to try and do that in her name. In lieu of flowers, donations can be given to the Fight Like Kate, the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Network Foundation, or Camp Kesem. Camp Kesem is a nationwide charity, manned by college students, who provide a week’s free camp experience for children whose lives have been impacted by a parent’s cancer. Jenna was fortunate to attend the camp sponsored by the University of Texas, Dallas, last summer, and is looking forward to going back this year.
Dr. Paula L. Weistroffer, 44, passed away on Monday, July 1, 2019 in the loving arms of her family and the compassionate care of staff at The Bird House, a hospice home in Iowa City, IA, after a long battle with cancer. Paula was born in Aurora, IL, on November 5, 1974, and graduated from Annunciation Elementary School, Rosary High School, Cornell College and the University of Iowa. Paula worked as a Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Periodontics, at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and had maintained a private dental practice within the college since 2007. She held a Masters in Oral Science. She was a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, the Midwest Society of Periodontology and the Iowa Society of Periodontology. She also held memberships in the American Dental Association, the Iowa Dental Association, the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology, and was a faculty advisor and member of the American Academy of Women Dentists. She recently joined the Academy of Osseointegration and was a Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology.
Paula taught in the Undergraduate Periodontal Clinic, the Department of Family Dentistry Undergraduate Clinic Comprehensive Care Program and the Periodontal Resident Clinics. She was the course director for D4 Periodontics and lectured in the periodontal curriculum for D1 through D4 students. She had such empathy for others, especially her dental patients, because of her own health experience. As a final act of sharing, her body has been donated for medical science study. Paula loved photography and enjoyed watching the Food Network, grew her own garden herbs and was an excellent cook. She traveled widely to nearly every state in the union including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain and Italy.
She is survived by her husband, Cory Borsheim; her parents, Leon and Nancy (Hettinger) Weistroffer of Aurora, IL; her sister, Lisa (Derrick) Lynd of Batavia, IL; her brother, John Weistroffer of Houston, TX; her mother-in-law, Janet (Blockhus) Borsheim of Decorah, IA; her brothers-in-law, Chad (Tammi) Borsheim of Huxley, IA and Jason Borsheim of Decorah, IA; many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins; and her most precious little furry friend and companion, Kobi. She was predeceased by her grandparents, Joseph and Theresa (Meyer) Weistroffer, Paul and Corinne (Clements) Hettinger, both of Illinois, and her father-in-law, Elton “Al” Borsheim of Iowa. A celebration of her life will be held at Gaslite Manor in Aurora on Saturday, August 24th from 4:00 to 8:00 pm. Donations in her name may be made to Rosary High School in Aurora, The Bird House (Hospice Home of Johnson County, IA) or the University of Iowa Foundation; Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. Private burial services will be held at a later date at Marywood Cemetery in Aurora. Finally, there’s no more pain and suffering, no more prescriptions or treatment, just peaceful, restful sleep. She has earned her place among the angels.